Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Light in the Attic)

 |   |  1 min read

Betty Davis: He Was A Big Freak
Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Light in the Attic)

No, this isn't here just so we can display the striking cover of the former Mrs Miles Davis looking like some astral traveller from Ziggy Stardust's planet.

In fact this is something of lost soul-funk classic from '74 from a period of skin-tight silver pants, sky-high heels on the dancefloor and shoulder-wide Afros.

In her own way Davis -- formerly Betty Mabry -- was well ahead of her time and in his autobiography Miles credits her with turning him on to rock music in the late 60s, and introducing him to Jimi Hendrix. He wrote Back Seat Betty about her.

"If Betty were singing today," he said in '89, "she'd be something like Madonna; something like Prince, but a woman."

Certainly a lot here comes straight outta the Sly Stone/P-Funk/blaxploitation territory and her raunchy, sultry, and sometimes croaking voice rides these bass-heavy grooves with utter self-confidence.

Santana made the Madonna connection too, but added, "Madonna is more like Marie Osmond comapred to Betty Davis. Betty was a real ferocious, Black Panther woman. She was indomitable, you couldn't tame Betty Davis."

Others have seen her as the prototype for Macy Gray and women rappers.

Maybe this is just a period-piece.

But what a period.

And what a piece.

 

(This excellent reissue comes with four bonus tracks and with a booklet which contains a lengthy essay about Mabry/Davis. It follows the similarly repackaged reissue of her self-titled album from '73 which she recorded with Sly Stone's rhythm section and had the Pointer Sisters on backing vocals.)

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Freakwater: Scheherazade (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Freakwater: Scheherazade (Bloodshot/Southbound)

That looks like a pretty ordinary motel room on the cover, and in the first song -- a fiddle-dragged dark and disturbing piece entitled What the People Want -- is the story of a rural rape and then... > Read more

British Sea Power: Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)

British Sea Power: Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)

The title of this glisteningly melodic album is doubtless rhetorical -- but these guys also seem to like Brian Wilson's ambitious pop symphonies, ambient music in the manner of Brian Eno, Paul... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Elton John: Tumbleweed Connection (1970)

Elton John: Tumbleweed Connection (1970)

There are some images which are imprinted in my rock’n’roll memory -- one was when the young Elton John played at Auckland’s Western Springs Stadium in October 1971.... > Read more

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Sounds peculiar to me, pal

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Sounds peculiar to me, pal

In this fast 15 minute programme we listen to the sound of unusual instruments like PVC pipes, flowerpots and other found objects. Peculiar, but in a good way. For more of these fast 15 minute... > Read more